Where law departments are being wasteful
New research shows that while law departments are trimming the volume of tech platforms utilised, in-house teams are still spending too much time jumping between tech systems.
Matter and contract management software provider LawVu has released its 2023 In-house Legal Technology Report, which surveyed almost 300 in-house professionals across the United Kingdom and the United States between December 2022 and February 2023.
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The purpose of the report was to better appreciate the various trends surrounding the use of tech by law departments and the impact on workflow efficiencies and business objectives as a result of said use, as the market emerges from a global pandemic and potentially enters a recession.
While Australian in-house legal professionals were not surveyed for the report, it contains pertinent findings for law departments here, including last week’s report detailing the headline challenges facing in-house teams at present.
The report also found that legal teams are currently using an average of 4.1 technology solutions across the department, down from an average of 5.8 in the 2022 report.
LawVu pointed out that law departments with 31 to 75 staff members use the most tech solutions (five) compared to teams with less than 10 professionals (3.5), teams of 11 to 30 (3.7), and teams of 75 or more (4.4).
Teams of 31 to 75 also face the most challenges, the provider noted, deducing that “using a greater number of separate systems can actually compound challenges rather than solve them”.
In this year’s report, LawVu wrote, “we are seeing a correlation between efficiency gains and a decrease in the number of solutions used and a more consolidated way of working”.
“However, legal teams are still spending significant time on manual administrative tasks,” it said.
The research found waste in the following areas for law departments:
- Three in five (61 per cent) of teams spend over one hour per day jumping between systems to gain a complete view of work and determine priorities, with 21 per cent spending more than three hours a day on this;
- One in three (37 per cent) are spending over three hours daily engaged in back and forth with the wider business (including on status updates of legal work or gathering of information);
- Seven in 10 (68 per cent) are spending more than one hour daily searching through emails or other systems to determine contract, matter history or advice from outside counsel;
- Two in three (64 per cent) are spending more than one hour a day on team management;
- Thirty per cent are spending more than three hours a day compiling assets necessary for reporting;
- More than half (58 per cent) are spending over one hour each day sending separate emails to different law firms when sending requests for proposals.
Only between 31 and 42 per cent of law departments are spending less than one hour each day on these tasks, underscoring the danger of such waste at a time of ongoing economic uncertainty and ahead of a potential recession.
Further efficiency and productivity gains are “high on the agenda for legal teams over the next few years”, according to LawVu’s report. Given these findings, such gains will have to be an urgent priority.
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